High school very much open for busi­ness

South Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - By PET­RICE TARRANT

Ru­mours that For­est View High School is clos­ing have been quashed by its prin­ci­pal.

Ian Fer­gu­son said the gos­sip had put fear and un­cer­tainty in the minds of staff, stu­dents and par­ents.

‘‘I just want to put the ru­mours to rest and if peo­ple think the school is clos­ing I’d like to dis­cuss it with them. It’s not right.’’

He sus­pects that there are only a few peo­ple be­hind the tale but the po­ten­tial dam­age is huge.

‘‘We have had par­ents of our own and mem­bers of the com­mu­nity ask­ing if the school is clos­ing. We have put ar­ti­cles in our news­let­ters and sent let­ters out to par­ents and it hasn’t stopped.’’

Fol­low­ing a dis­trict-wide trend, the school’s role has been de­clin­ing since its peak of 650 in 2004.

How­ever Mr Fer­gu­son said it seemed to be sta­bil­is­ing.

Last year the school was forced to cut four per­ma­nent staff and one part-time mem­ber but that still left 32 teach­ers, he said.

‘‘Peo­ple would say there’s no smoke with­out fire but I can as­sure peo­ple the school is open for busi­ness and ready to do a great job.’’

The Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion’s head of sec­tor en­able­ment and sup­port Ka­t­rina Casey agreed.

‘‘The ru­mours have no ba­sis,’’ she said.

‘‘We have not been in­volved in any dis­cus­sions about clo­sure of this school.’’

The school, which hosts about 400 stu­dents, has just com­pleted a $1 mil­lion re­fur­bish­ment of sci­ence labs, tech­nol­ogy work­shops and a gym.

Mr Fer­gu­son said it was in the process of in­stalling a $70,000 heat­ing sys­tem which would be fol­lowed by another $400,000 re­fur­bish­ment of classrooms to be com­pleted by the end of 2015.

A new uni­form had also been de­signed and would be in­tro­duced, start­ing this year.

‘‘We have a wide range of sub­jects and the abil­ity to de­liver great ed­u­ca­tional out­comes. That’s what I want our school to be judged on, not ru­mours,’’ Mr Fer­gu­son said.

Photo: PET­RICE TARRANT

Fears al­layed: For­est View High School prin­ci­pal Ian Fer­gu­son, and se­nior man­age­ment team mem­bers Tr­ish Priscott and Chris Stokes, as­sure the pub­lic their school is not clos­ing down.

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